(article) Apprenticeships in the Folk Arts Program

 

Enjoy some archival content from Texas Folklife's Apprenticeship Program:

 

 

Apprenticeship 2011

Julie and Gabriel Bata and Jean-Claude Lessou: West African dance performance

Apprenticeship 2010

Kendal Chilcott and Gary Dunshee: Saddle Making and Tooling

 

Apprenticeship 2007

Amulya & Shanti Aradhyula and Smt. Rajeswari Pariti: Carnatic Veena performance


Apprenticeship 2006

mario magallon

Pedro Magallón/Mario Magallón Instrument-making

Pedro Magallón built his last musical instrument 18 years ago, but returned to his craft four months ago so he could pass his skills to his oldest son, Mario, as part of Texas Folklife's Apprenticeship in the Folk Arts program.

The program encourages preservation of Texas’ traditional arts by providing grants to promote the transfer of specialized knowledge and skills from an experienced master artist to a dedicated apprentice.

The Magallóns built three vihuelas (small five-stringed, guitar-like instruments) and a bajo sexto (a large guitar-like instrument) using only hand tools and specialized materials from Mexico. See Mario's "step by step guide on how it was made"

Pedro Magallón learned how to make instruments from his mother’s uncle in 1969. After immigrating to the United States in 1974, he started an instrument-making workshop at La Joya High School, where he worked for nearly 30 years as a mariachi music instructor. Magallón made most of the instruments for the high school’s folklórico music program, including two harps for the mariachi band. His musicianship and luthier skills have earned him renown throughout the Rio Grande Valley.

Mario Magallón, a regional manager for Sprint Nextel, met regularly with his father and built his own workshop, ensuring this family tradition will continue for a third generation.

 

Apprenticeships 2004-2005

herrera cassidyLouis Herrera/Shannon Cassidy
Metalsmith/Ironworks

Sweeping the floor was the beginning of Louis Herrera's apprenticeship with his father. Herrera, master artist and second-generation metalsmith, lives and works in Austin. He began working with his father in the family business, Herrera Ironworks, at an early age. First sweeping and observing, then hammering the hot metal into decorative shapes to be assembled into larger finished pieces.

Today his work can be seen in many public installations around Austin, notably the entrance gate to Zilker Botanical Gardens and in many homes around central Texas.

Louis Herrera was Texas Folklife's August 2005 artist of the month. Read his feature here.

 

Maria Jesus Jimenez/Alejandro Jimenez
Adobe building

Maria Jesus Jimenez has always been surrounded by adobe. Born and raised in Chihuahua, Mexico, her parents and grandparents lived in adobe houses. She began as a child to learn to work with adobe. With her husband and children she built her own adobe house in Presidio, where she lives today. Ten years ago she began to work with Simone Swan to build many structures on both sides of the Rio Grande.

Jimenez has taught many workshops on adobe construction in the Southwest and has participated in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival as a master artist.

Alejandro Jimenez began his informal apprenticeship by helping with the construction of his family's home when he was 13 years old. Living in Presidio and working with his mother, Jesus Jimenez is learning not only how to select the soil and mix the mud, but also laying the newly made brick and plastering to finish the adobe.

 

Jude Moreau/Ed Poullard 
Accordion-making

Jude Moreau, master Cajun accordion maker, learned his craft out of necessity. Moreau lives in Groves, Texas, where he has been building accordions for over 15 years. When he first began playing the accordion he would have to travel to Lake Charles, La., a 90-mile round trip, to have it repaired or tuned by builder John Broussard. After several trips, he figured he should learn to make the repairs himself to save time and money. His musician friends encouraged him to try and build one himself. By taking his accordion apart and making measurements, he built his first instrument. Later, after trial and error, and he got some pointers and help from well-known Louisiana accordion builders Mark Savoy and Randy Falcon. Today Moreau is working on his 100th accordion.

Edward Poullard, apprentice accordion maker, has played the accordion and fiddle for over 30 years. A highly skilled woodworker, Poullard has completed his first accordion andis working on a second for his daughter, who recently learned to play. Although there is a strong tradition of Creole accordion musicians, Poullard says he knows of no Creole builders. He hopes to generate an interest in both playing and building among younger Creole people.